Section: Features

Trivia and Bingo provide students space for virtual collaboration

Trivia and Bingo provide students space for virtual collaboration

As colleges across the country rapidly attempt to shift operations online, the process has progressed further than simply making classes accessible from off campus as colleges like Kenyon attempt to continue activities beyond just their academics. However, some aspects of campus life are difficult to replace, and require students and faculty to be proactive in order to create the closest thing to their life before the quarantine. Even as uncertainty looms about when students will be able to return to campus, Kenyon’s Trivia and Bingo continue online in an attempt to retain aspects of the campus that can’t be found at home.

Clubs continuing online have undoubtedly allowed for students to stay engaged with those groups, while athletics teams have remained active on social media accounts and platforms. These social circles are beneficial in that they can offer a sense of continuity for individual relationships that were vibrant on campus.

In these times of isolation, being able to feel like part of a larger group such as Kenyon, where community members, friends, classmates and faculty all intermingle, could be the best solution to feelings of alienation.

While many would not define their college experience by the Office of Student Engagement’s (OSE) Bingo and Trivia nights, these small, scheduled events, in well-loved locations, foster “connection with the Kenyon community” and “comfort to the students who participate” according to Sam Filkins, director of student engagement.

Filkins has been part of the Bingo project since arriving at Kenyon. Filkins says that Bingo was just one of the many ideas that the Social Board came up with to keep the Kenyon community engaged while off campus.

“When circumstances dictated that the spring semester would be completed remotely, a group of staff started pulling together a list of ideas to keep the community engaged. Our focus was on the entire campus community, and I took the lead on the Bingo idea for students since I advise Social Board,” Filkins said. This community also includes Knox County, as the Office of Student Engagement buys all prizes from local businesses.

Filkins reports an increase in Bingo attendance since moving online, as—now more than ever—Kenyon students from all over seek to replicate the small pleasures of Kenyon’s campus. By using Zoom and two cameras, one for the scorecard and another for interactions with participants, those playing can see and interact with other people in the game, the closest replica of the time they would have been spending in the Great Hall.

In addition to Bingo, many students have most likely begun to notice a Trivia-sized hole in their schedule. They are perhaps seeking to get their groups back together and brainstorm what Jack Black’s character was named in School of Rock or the name of the winner of the second season of American Idol. Trivia organizer and host Carolyn Pine ’20 said that no matter what Trivia students are thinking of, it beats thinking about COVID-19.

“We never threw in the towel on Trivia, not even for a day,” Pine said. “I definitely wasn’t ready my senior year to be over, and I think Trivia is one way I am coming to terms with it.”

The execution of Trivia relied heavily on team socializing and a variety of online services to best recreate the original structure of Trivia as held at the Village Inn. Pine and co-host Adam Roesner ’20 take turns broadcasting on Facebook Live, where they host as each team submits their answer to them via a Google Form. All communication goes through Facebook, where Pine and Roesner post answers and later results. The idea came to Pine and Roesner after the initial email that Kenyon’s spring break would be extended by a week. Pine said that the idea became reality when they received word that the remainder of the spring semester would be held remotely.

“We hope that Trivia serves as a routinized excuse for people to be with each [other], share some drinks, and hopefully some laughs,” Pine said. “We want it to feel as close to normal as possible. It’s … a positive distraction for all of us.”

Trivia meets every Wednesday at 10:15 p.m. EST and Bingo meets each week on a rotating day at 8:45 p.m. EST. To join in on the trivia festivities, one must join the Facebook group “Trivia Lives on Virtually.” For Bingo, an option to register on a Google Form will be sent out prior to the game, and will generate a digital bingo card. The game will then be held on Zoom.

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